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revelations about Aven’s birth family, the author lets warm but not gooey sentiment wash
over the close to a tale that is not about having
differences, but accepting them in oneself and
others. —John Peters
Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race.
By Chris Grabenstein.
Oct. 2017. 288p. Random, $16.99 (9780553536065);
lib. ed., $19.99 (9780553536072); e-book, $16.99
(9780553536089). Gr. 4–7.
Legendary game maker and library support-
er Mr. Lemoncello is back with a new game
designed to make research fun: Fact-Finding
Frenzy. If Kyle and his friends are first to
unravel the clues and puzzles about famous
historical figures, they’ll win fabulous prizes
and the opportunity to travel around with
Mr. Lemoncello’s new holographic exhibit.
But while researching their way to a win, Kyle
and his teammate discover some “facts” that
could put Mr. Lemoncello’s entire game em-
pire, and the library at risk. As Kyle and his
teammate search for information, they learn
that not everything they read or hear can be
trusted. Grabenstein weaves in themes of find-
ing sources and judging the credibility of the
Internet in an engaging manner sure to entice
readers to partake in their own research quest.
With just enough mystery and twists to keep
readers guessing, this third series offering is a
valuable and useful tool for classrooms and
libraries in teaching the importance of doing
responsible research. —Sarah Bean Thompson
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Not only will
this book see heavy promotion, the publisher
is launching a “Race Back to Book One”
series campaign that will make keeping Mr.
Lemoncello in the library a challenge.
Never Say Die.
By Anthony Horowitz.
Oct. 2017. 368p. Philomel, $17.99 (9781524739300).
The 15-year-old superagent swings back
into action in his eleventh outing, after a fragmentary e-mail message convinces him that
his nanny-sidekick, Jack Starbright—killed
(supposedly) before his eyes in Scorpia Rising
(2011)—is still alive. As his search takes him
from Cairo to Saint-Tropez and, finally, to
an abandoned coke factory in deepest Wales,
he becomes entangled in a pair of murderous
crime bosses’ fabulously baroque scheme to
snatch a busload of children of the superrich.
Once again amid races, chases, hails of bullets,
and increasingly spectacular explosions, the
teenage James Bond pulls off one awesome feat
of derring-do after another, while allies from
previous episodes pop up at convenient times
to render aid, and adversaries come to bad,
generally self-inflicted ends. Having given his
hyperpopular series something of a breather,
Horowitz now sets it back on track with a fresh
caper that roars along to a (naturally) explosive
climax and tidy resolution. If the broad teaser
at the end is any indication, Alex’s career is in
no danger of slowing down. —John Peters
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Demand
hasn’t lessened for everyone’s favorite teen
spy in his absence; this series relaunch will
have plenty of takers.
By Jason Reynolds.
Aug. 2017. 240p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, $16.99
(9781481450188). Gr. 5–8.
When Patina “Patty” Jones, the fastest
girl on the Defenders track team, comes
in second place in a race—a fact she finds
unacceptable—her rage is so intense that
she mentally checks out. In
an effort to make her into
a team player, Coach assigns her to the 4x800 relay
race and makes the relay
team do hokey things like
waltz in practice to “learn
each others’ rhythms.” Pfft.
Meanwhile, Patty feels completely out of place at her rich-girl academy.
And then there’s the really hard stuff. Like
how her father died, how her mother “got
the sugar” (diabetes) and it took her legs, and
now Patty and her little sister live with their
aunt Emily and uncle Tony. Reynolds again
displays his knack for capturing authentic
voice in both Patty’s inner monologues and
the spoken dialogue. The plot races as fast as
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